Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rosicrucians Moving From Masonic Week to Next November in Louisville

An announcement from the SRCF, the Rosicrucian Society:

The High Council of Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis has been considering the idea of meeting independently and expanding Rosicrucian programs for several years.  During the past several years High Council meetings have doubled in size, with members enjoying the grades portrayed and asking for more.  Some suggested adding, workshops, seminars and additional degrees, with the continuation of notable Rosicrucian speakers.

For years the Society has met as a part of Masonic Week in the Washington D.C. area.  While that venue has been successful, the number of other Masonic groups meeting during the week has doubled.  The ability to have more time for additional degrees or workshops would have been difficult, if not impossible to accomplish given the time constraints.  Snowy inclement weather has added a new dimension to meeting in Washington D.C. during the winter months. 

The steady growth of our Colleges, particularly in the western states, has created a desire to relocate to a more central location.  After the last several years of snowy weather encumbering travel, a change in either location or time was necessary.  This matter has been discussed among the Chief Adepts and High Council members through a plethora of e-mails and phone calls.

The agreed upon date is November 6-8, 2015, the first weekend in November, and Louisville is the agreed location. We will have the RSKO on Friday Evening, and then we plan on starting the High Council at 8 AM Saturday, with seminars, degree conferrals, etc., all day ending with the Banquet on Saturday evening. 

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, an agreement, was finalized with the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY.  The Brown is owned by Galtex Corporation, former owners of the Hotel Washington, where Masonic Week met for years.  The Hotel is steeped in history, is elegant, and the place to build a tradition.  Further, it is affordable with a rate of $129, $30 less than 2014 prices!  Check out their website:  Those who miss the elegance of the Hotel Washington are going to love this Hotel.

Reservations may be made on line by going to:

or call 888-888-5252 and tell them you are with SRICF to receive our rate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Illus. Brother Art de Hoyos in White Plains, NY 10/23

On October 23rd, the Valley of the Hudson, AASR NMJ will host Illustrious Brother Arturo de Hoyos for a talk entitled "The Art of Rituals in Freemasonry." The dinner is $10 and is open to all Master Masons. Dinner begins at 6PM, and Art's talk will begin at 8PM.

It will be held at the White Plains Masonic Temple, 262 Martine Ave., White Plains, NY.

For more information, contact or call 917-562-7064.

Grand Lodge of New York Visual Tour has done a visual tour of the Grand Lodge of New York's magnificent building in NYC.

Click here to see it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital

From an editorial in the Pioneer Press in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Generous people make a difference every day, all around our region.
We recognize their commitment, in particular this week, with word of a new name in Twin Cities health care: the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
The change recognizes a gift of $25 million from the Minnesota Masonic Charities and a legacy of support -- spanning the last 60 years -- that now exceeds $125 million. The gifts make the Masons its largest donor, according to the university.
The new gift will support pediatric research and care delivery at the hospital on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Last year, it cared for children from 80 of Minnesota's 87 counties.
Giving from the Masons includes $75 million for cancer research and care since 2008, and additional gifts that began back in 1955.
With support from the Masons, the University built the 80-bed Masonic Memorial Hospital, dedicated in 1958, and the Masonic Cancer Research Building in the mid-'90s. The Masonic Cancer Center, so named after a 2008 pledge, continues to have a profound impact, a joint statement from the university and Minnesota Masonic Charities said, and the Masonic Cancer Clinic, currently under construction, will provide compassionate care until a cure is in hand.
"The Masonic Fraternity is passionate about helping Minnesotans lead longer and healthier lives," Eric Neetenbeek, Minnesota Masonic Charities president and CEO, said in a statement.
"By supporting the children's hospital, we hope to facilitate new treatments and cures that will benefit patients and families across the state and around the world."
Minnesota Masonic Charities, the nonprofit charitable organization of Minnesota Masonry, is one of the largest grantmakers in the state. "Our commitment may be drawn from tradition, but our drive comes from today's most pressing issues," the organization's website says, noting its focus in five areas: education, cancer research, elder services, community outreach and the preservation of Masonic history.
A Pioneer Press report noted another major gift so far in the history of the children's hospital, which opened in 2008 and in 2009 was named the Amplatz Children's Hospital after a $50 million donation by the daughter of Dr. Kurt Amplatz, a former radiology professor at the university who invented a cardiac device that closes abnormal holes in children's hearts.
In March, Caroline Amplatz allowed university officials to remove her father's name from the hospital, which is affiliated with the U of M Medical School, the report said. She opted to relinquish naming rights to open the opportunity for another donor, according to a university spokeswoman.
With this week's announcement -- and its legacy of philanthropy -- Minnesota Masonic Charities allows the university to "develop leading academic medicine programs that change the lives of families throughout the state and nation, and around the world," wrote U of M President Eric Kaler.
The power of such philanthropy and generosity is remarkable, he said. "It confirms the deep affection and trust so many Minnesotans have for the university. That this gift will deliver invaluable benefits to children, our most vulnerable patients, especially delights and touches me."
Such good-for-kids giving is good for all of us, and it makes Minnesota a better place.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Speaking Sunday at Escurial Lodge No. 7, Virginia City, NV

I'll be speaking Sunday evening at the rededication of Escurial Lodge No. 7 in Virginia City, Nevada. This is their 150th year gala anniversary, chartered in October 1864.

Lodge is opened by Grand Lodge at 2:00PM, followed by the events of the evening at Piper's Opera House. Speakers begin at 6:30, featuring Grand Master MW John Buffington, WBro. Jim Clark, WM of Escurial, Ron James, Nevada State historian, and then me.

Escurial 7 was one of the four original lodges on the Comstock. It was originally chartered by the California Grand Lodge as Escurial # 171, on Oct. 13,1864.  It later became Escurial # 7 under the Grand Lodge of Nevada on Jan. 18,1865 shortly after Nevada became a State.
Originally, Escurial Lodge met in the same lodge building as Virginia # 3, and the two lodges shared the same quarters for many years.
On May 19, 1875, a fire consumed much of Virginia City, including the lodge building that Escurial 7 and Virginia 3 were meeting in at the time.  This necessitated that the two lodges would meet in the Odd Fellows hall, while a new lodge was being constructed.
On September 3, 1875, a second fire then destroyed the Odd Fellows hall, along with all the Masonic lodge records of Escurial 7 and Virginia 3.  Following this fire, the first of the “Masons on the Mountain” meetings was held on top of Mt. Davidson.
Construction of another new lodge was under way when, on October 26, 1875, a third fire destroyed much of the Virginia City, once again, including the lodge.
The present lodge building was constructed in 1987 through the generosity of Brother Francis N. Fisher, PM, PGM, a long time resident of Virginia City and a member of Escurial Lodge # 7.
Many of the present furnishings were salvaged from the fourth lodge building, constructed after the fires, and are still in use today.  The lodge jewels are fashioned from the silver mined from the Comstock Lode.  The upper lodge room was designed and built as a copy of the original lodge room of 1863.
Approximately 730 Master Masons have joined Escurial Lodge # 7 and signed the by-laws since it’s humble beginning in 1864.

 Looking forward to being there.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fraternal, Service Groups Battle Declining Membership

From the article "Fraternal, Service Groups Battle Declining Membership" in the Lafayette, Indiana Journal Courier Online, by Taya Flores:

It was the "Greatest Generation," or World World II veterans, who triggered the major boom in many organizations after the war ended in 1945.
"They were ready to own this society, to be a part of everything," said Duane Vaught,deputy grandmaster of Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, a Christian-oriented fraternal organization open only to Freemasons.
"Unbelievable numbers of them joined everything. Our membership skyrocketed starting in the mid-'40s until the mid-'60s. Our membership was huge in the '50s. Everybody wanted to be a member."But their grandchildren — baby boomers who came of age around 1970 — were not joiners, he said.
"We are taking in a pretty decent number of members each year, but the deaths among the WWII generation offset the people joining every single year," he said. "That's the unfortunate part."
George Braatz, executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of North America, agreed. 
"During the Vietnam War, across our country, there was a feeling that no organization could be trusted," he said. "The people of that age did not participate. They did not get involved in service organizations."

Other groups, such as the local Freemasons, say they are finding results simply by being more visible. In the past, Freemasons were not allowed to tell anyone they were Masonic. Due to declining numbers, however, they have become more visible. 
"Freemasonry doesn't recruit, but we do work to try and attract," said J. Keith Henry, member of Lafayette Lodge 123. "Attraction is passive. We give them the opportunity (and) information. We talk to them, but they have to make the first step and talk to us."His lodge sets up an informational booth at the Mosey Down Main Street festivals during summer months.  
Decline started in the '80s, when the massive WWII membership influx began dying out. By 2000, however, the membership numbers started to bounce back, Henry said. "But they are not coming back super fast," he said. "We don't have massive numbers like they did after the wars." There are about 150 members in his lodge now, he said. He could not easily locate past membership numbers, he added.  
He attributes the uptick in membership to forming relationships with Purdue University fraternities and Ivy Tech Community College and restoring the Merou Grotto — the social club for Master Masons on North River Road in West Lafayette. They restored the prophet's lounge and the dining room on the second floor. The facility is also used for outreach, such as a community flea market held during the summer.  
"Believe it or not, guys want to find things that don't always involve going out and drinking," he said. The new members have been age 45 and younger. In the '90s, the average member age was in the 70s, Henry said. 
Technology has also worked in the group's favor. "A lot of people think social media is great, but it lacks the physical connection, the handshake, the breaking of bread with your brothers," he said. "A lot of people lack that social connection and they are starting to look for it."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry & History 5/29-31, 2015

Convened by the journal Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society in cooperation with the Bibliothèque Nationale, the first World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, focuses on the study of ritual, secrecy, and civil society vis-à-vis the dynamics of Masonic scholarship around the world. The conference aims to explore how civil society, secrecy, and ritual have been important elements during different episodes of local and world histories, and indeed still are.
The conference will be held biennially in Paris, and hopes to open new doors while promoting multilingual and multicultural scholarship in areas such as, the relations between such Masonic-related subjects as the Companionnage, guilds, friendly societies, and Greek fraternities. 

The call for papers is now open, and perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods and geographic zones are welcome. The standard length of individual presentations is planned to be between 15 and 20 minutes, further details will be administered nearer the start date. Paper and panel proposals should be submitted to Whitney Shepard, Registrar of the Conference, at Papers accepted for presentation will be published byWestphalia Press in three collections: Vital Masonic Scholarship in the 21st CenturyNew Research in Secret Societies, and European Scholarship in Secrecy and Ritualism. Additionally, some presentations will be made available for online streaming and video recorded through the American Public University System
Organizing Committee: Guillermo De Los Reyes (Conference Chair- University of Houston), 
Paul Rich (George Mason University), Daniel Guiterrez-Sandoval (Policy Studies Organization), 
Pierre Mollier (Editor, Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society), Alain Bauer (National Conservatory 
for Arts and Crafts), Maria Eugenia Vazquez-Semadeni (University of California, Los Angeles), 
Brent Morris (Scottish Rite Supreme Council), John Belton (Manchester Association of Masonic 
Research), Yasha Beresiner (InterCol London)
In order to make possible the attendance of all interested parties, the sponsors have agreed that there will be no registration fee for the 2015 conference. This owes much to the great support of the Bibliothèque Nationale in being such a generous host. One of the world's extraordinary libraries with a remarkable Masonic collection, it is well worth exploring while you are in Paris. And although there is no cost, it is imperative that all attendees and participants still register, so that we may facilitate the proper arrangements and accomodations. Please note: the fee is only waived upon application to the Registrar of the Conference, Whitney Shepard. Early inquiry is appreciated in regards to special requests for hearing enhancement, physically challenged access, child care, or other potential needs of our guests.
There is a metro that adjoins the Library, for easy access to the conference. Complimentary coffee and refreshments will be provided throughout the day for our guests. Meals may be taken by delegates at any of the numerous nearby cafes and eateries. Although there will not be an official conference dinner on Saturday, arrangements will be made for delegates and their guests to join one of several informal groups to dine together that evening. Attendees will be able to sign up for a group upon registration. On Sunday there will be an optional informal walk, taking in the masonic and masonic related sites of the area. Details about this excursion will be forthcoming.
We hope to make everyone's journey as smooth as possible, so please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or advice for travel and booking options. For those arriving early to the conference, here are a few visitor suggestions and local attractions that you may enjoy. We also hope you will check out this site, which is a helpful resource for all interested in Masonic research and education. 
Below is a tentative schedule of events for the meeting: 
 ritconf logo
The Patron Saints and the Point Within the Circle
by Roy Mandell and Margaret Schmidt. Oil on canvas. 2014
Commissioned by John Mercer Lodge in Omaha Nebraska
Master of the lodge at the time: Brother David Long
  World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry & History
Schedule of Events
Day One: Friday- May 29, 2015
9:00AM Coffee in the Foyer
9:30 AM Welcome- Grand Auditorium 
Guillermo De los Reyes, Conference Chair
Jean-Loup Graton, Bibliothèque Nationale
Pierre Mollier, Editor- Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society
10:00 AM Keynote Address- Grand Auditorium 
Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor History, University California of Los Angeles-Where do we go From Here?
Introduced by: Paul J. Rich, President, Policy Studies Organization
11:00 AM Special Instrumental Presentation
400 Years of Masonic Music- Special Instrumental Presentation
11:30-11:45 AM Coffee in the Foyer

11:45AM - 12:45 PM Masonic Bibliography, Individual Sessions
Salon One- John Belton, Problems in Masonic Bibliography
Salon TwoThe Masonic Collections of the The Bibliothèque Nationale
12:45 - 2:15 PM Break for Lunch
2:15 - 3:00 PM Plenary Address
John Cooper, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, President of the North American Conference of Grand Masters- Into the Maelstrom: The Issue of Masonic Regularity, Past and Present
Commentator: Alain Bauer
Chair: Guillermo De Los Reyes
3:00 - 3:30 PM Dance Interpretation of the Initiation
3:30 - 3:45 PM Coffee in the Foyer
3:45- 4:45 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: The Masonic Architecture of Paris
Day Two: Saturday- May 30, 2015
9:00 AM Coffee in Foyer
9:30 - 10:45 AM Plenary in Grand Auditorium
Jean-Michel Mathonière, Compagnonnage: Knowledge and Symbols of Knowledge Among Stone Cutters at the End of the Ancien Régime
10:45 - 12: 45 AM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One:
Guillermo De Los Reyes and Paul Rich, Smuggling Masonic Books, Politics and Chaos in the Early Mexican Republic
Salon Two:
Yasha Beresiner, Medieval Guilds of the City of London and their Later Influence on Freemasonry
Chair: Guillermo Izabal
Salon Three: 
Zhenya Gershman, Rembrandt's Secret
Philip Carter, That Which Was Lost- The Third Pillar
Commentator: Goncalo Amaral
12:45 - 2:30 PM Break for Lunch 
2:30 - 3:30 PM Plenary Session
Brent Morris, Henry Andrew Francken's Manuscripts: The Ritual Cornerstone of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
3:30 - 4:30 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: John Acaster, The Voyage from Corruption to Harmony: Fresh Insights Into the Inspiration of Noah and 'the primitive' Within Freemasonry
Salon Two: Daniel Gutierrez-Sandoval, Publishing Masonic Books is not that Difficult: A Guide to New Realities 
Commentator: Rex Kallembach
4:30 PM Closing Plenary Session
Sunday- May 31, 2015
~~Informal walking tour of local Masonic sites and architecture (details forthcoming)~~

Monday, October 06, 2014

Indiana Masonic Home Arch Damaged By Driver

From Daily Journal in Franklin, IN:

Franklin police are looking for a driver who smashed through part of the brick arch near the Indiana Masonic Home entrance.
The accident occurred about 4 a.m. Saturday. A woman reported that a man showed up at her home and was intoxicated. He told her he had been in an accident, according to a police report.
He left the house about 5 a.m. and tried to drive away in his damaged truck. The truck was abandoned in the 300 block of East South Street and the driver ran off into the woods when police approached. Police later stopped a vehicle that was circling the area, which was being driven by the mother of the man police were looking for, the police report said. She denied that she was looking for her son, the report said.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Cliff Porter at Lodge Vitruvian in Indianapolis October 28th

Come join us for an evening of fellowship and scholarly discussion on the evening of Tuesday, October 28, 2014 AD, 6014 AL.
We are determined to complete our business in one hour.
7:00 - 8:00 PM Stated Meeting
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
Broad Ripple Masonic Temple
1716 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220-2338
“In the style of European Lodges, members are expected to dress in tuxedo for all Communications of the Lodge. Members also purchase their own regalia, (apron, collar, gloves, case), according to Lodge Vitruvian specifications.”
Visitors dress in tuxedo, Highland dress, or business attire.
If brethren choose to arrive at Lodge Vitruvian in Highland dress, they should wear a black Argyle Jacket, or Prince Charlie, with a tuxedo shirt and black bow tie, or a Montrose Doublet, and black leather or patent leather shoes.
8:30 - 10:30 PM Festive Board
Capri Italian Ristorante
2602 Ruth Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240-3283
Keynote Speaker:
W. Bro. Cliff Porter
The Secret Psychology of Freemasonry: Alchemy, Gnosis, and the Science of the Craft
Visiting brethren are welcome to join us for the Stated Meeting, ladies and guests are welcome to join us for the Festive Board.
Each attendee will be responsible for the cost of his meal.
In an effort to assist our Secretary, I am requesting dinner reservations from members and guests, and regrets from our members.

Sincerely and fraternally,
Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 F&AM
W. Bro. Carson C. Smith
2207 Van Ness Place
Indianapolis, IN 46240-4703
(317) 319-3712 Cell

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Freemasons For Dummies Now An Audio Book

Freemasons For Dummies is now available in an audio version! It is available for preorder and will be shipping on October 20th. The price is $24.95 and is narrated by Tom Dheere. Now you can listen in the car! The book is complete and unabridged.

To order, click here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

California Masonic Symposium Sept 20 and 21 in Two Locations

Please join the Grand Lodge of California for the 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium: Freemasonry and the Creation of the American Republic.

The American Republic is a unique experiment in self-government, and its roots are in part found in the Freemasonry of the 18th century. The 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium will explore how this experiment in self-government has evolved through the years since 1776, and how Masonic principles have continued to guide its development for almost 250 years. The presenters will show that Freemasonry has influenced the course of self-government in several significant ways.
Event Details
The Symposium will be held on two dates and in two locations, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • September 20, 2014 | San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center | 2850 19th Avenue, San Francisco
  • September 21, 2014 | Pasadena Scottish Rite Cathedral | 150 North Madison Avenue, Pasadena  
There are two registration options:
  • Full Symposium Fee | includes symposium and lunch | $30 per person
  • Symposium Only Fee | includes symposium only | $15 per person 
To register, click on the "Registration" button located at the top and bottom of this page.
Presenters' papers and panelists' notes will be published online at > member center > masonic education.

About the Symposium
Initiated in 2001, the California Masonic Symposium brings together students of Freemasonry and Masonic scholars in an atmosphere of learning and discussion.  Open to Masons and the public, this event addresses a topic of historical and philosophical relevance to Masonry each year.  Past Symposium topics have included Freemasonry in Mexico and Latin America; Freemasonry and Secret Societies; Issues in Contemporary Freemasonry; The Age of Franklin; The American Enlightenment; Freemasonry and the American Frontier; Freemasonry and Women; Applied Masonry; Masonry, Military and the Emergence of American Democracy; and The Emergence of Speculative Masonry.

The Symposium is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of California, the California Masonic Foundation and the Institute for Masonic Studies.

To register, click here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Speaking Monday and Saturday

I'll be speaking Monday, September 15th in Nashville, TN at Doric Lodge No. 732, with refreshments at 6:00PM and the talk at 7:00PM. The lodge is located at 2101 21st Avenue South. There is no dress code, so wear something comfortable.

Then I will be traveling to Ottawa, Canada to speak to Templum Fidelis Lodge on Saturday, September 20th. The lodge will tyle at 4:00PM. Lodges in their jurisdiction open on the first degree, and they will be going up to the third degree to receive in in-lodge paper from their newest Master Mason.

After lodge closes, we will retire to the lower banquet hall, where we enjoy a traditional Agape, and I will speak between dinner and dessert. Templum Fidelis is a Traditional Observance lodge, and dress code is black tie tuxedo.

For more information go to

Contact the event planner no later than the 16th to confirm dinner reservations.

Looking forward to the coming week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Masonic Society and Philalethes Society Joint Symposium This Saturday

This is one final reminder that it is not too late to register for the Masonic Society/Philalethes Society Symposium this Saturday, September 13 at the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite Cathedral in Bloomingdale, IL. Registration begins at 9:00 A.M. You may register on on the website or simply show up at the Scottish Rite on Saturday morning with $15.00. Registration for the banquet has closed. If you find yourself unexpectedly available, please join them for a great day of education and fellowship. 

There are five speakers in total. During the day: "Masonic Historical Research and Presentation," Alton G. Roundtree "The Role of Music and Song in Traditional Freemasonry," Shawn Eyer "The Mystery of Oak Island," Steven L. Harrison "Freemasonry and Law Enforcement: Compatible or Conflicting?" by Mark Robbins And the keynote speaker during the banquet is Andrew Hammer, author of Observing the Craft. The costs are: Symposium (Includes Continental Breakfast) $15.00.

Register here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Self-declared 'king' who tried to burn Masonic lodge not guilty by reason of insanity

Cincinnati Lodge No. 3 in Morristown, New Jersey narrowly escaped being burned to the ground last year, thanks to the bravery of RW Brother Drew Jardine.

From by Ben Horowitz: 
A Morris Township (New Jersey) man who was accused of trying to set the Morristown Masonic Lodge on fire — and who later told a judge he was a king — was found not guilty Tuesday by reason of insanity.John Mowbray, 53, had faced charges including aggravated attempted arson and burglary in connection with two break-ins at the lodge on Feb. 7 and 8, 2013.During a bail hearing a few days later, Mowbray said he was a king and maintained "this form of judicial system does not apply to me."Mowbray was initially declared incompetent to stand trial. But after a year of treatment at the Ann Klein Forensic Center, a state psychiatric hospital in West Trenton, a therapist said he was mentally competent.Superior Court Judge Robert Gilson in Morristown announced the verdict Tuesday following a short trial in which both sides agreed on the facts of the case and on Mowbray's mental state -- he was not sane at the time of the incident.Gilson, reading from reports by psychiatrists and police, for the first time gave an account of why Mowbray targeted the Masons.Mowbray, who damaged a grandfather clock at the lodge on Feb. 7 and then returned with gasoline containers to burn it down on Feb. 8, believed the Masons had stolen the clock from his grandfather and had also killed his grandfather, Gilson said.Mowbray, a schizophrenic, was "acutely psychotic" and believed the Masons and the Knights of Columbus were involved in a conspiracy to torture him, the judge said.During the second break-in, lodge member Andrew Jardine contacted police to report a "burglary in progress" and also "engaged in a fight" with Mowbray, Gilson said.The gas containers were found on the porch and Jardine told police that Mowbray said he "intended to burn the building down," Gilson said.Gilson cited a psychiatrist's report that said Mowbray has "regained competence" during treatment. However, he said, if Mowbray fails to take his medications, he will again be a "danger to himself and to others."Mowbray will return to Ann Klein pending another evaluation and a court hearing on his placement in 30 days.His attorney, John Whipple, said his family is hoping he may be placed at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, which would be "closer to home."Mowbray was previously found not guilty by reason of insanity in a 2008 Warren County case, according to court officials. He had been accused of leading police on a motor vehicle chase and striking two officers with his car, according to a Morris County assistant prosecutor.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Georgia Lodge Fire Believed To Be Arson

From WSB-TV in Atlanta:

Douglas County [Georgia] Fire investigators have confirmed the fire that destroyed the Flint Mill Masonic Lodge Friday morning was arson.
The fire began around 2 a.m. Friday at the Masonic Lodge on Highway 5 in Douglasville. No injuries were reported.
The investigation is ongoing, but the building is now considered a crime scene. A multi-agency investigation will continue.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the arson. Any person with information is asked to call 911 to be connected to investigators with the Douglas County Fire Department and Sheriff's Department.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freemasonry Still Alive And Well, And (Mostly) Men-Only

From today on NPR:

The members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge near downtown Seattle are on the young side. The guy in charge is 26.Danny Done, the lodge's worshipful master, is lounging on his designated chair in the room reserved for private ceremonies.His title comes with a top hat, though he avoids putting it on — he says it makes him look dorky. But he does like other aspects of Masonic regalia, like his Templar sword. Done uses it to point to a diagram on the wall that charts out the different kinds of Masonry."Here, you have the first three degrees of Masonry," he explains, motioning to the chart. "Which gets you to, basically, the beginning step of this section, which is called the Scottish rite. And the Scottish rite was invented from a lecture series by a Scotsman in France."Yes, one of America's oldest fraternities, the Masons, is still around. And in a conversation with Done, you quickly find they aren't nearly as secretive as you'd hoped — particularly in Washington state. Rules in each state are set by a "Grand Lodge," and Washington's claims to be relatively liberal in the rules governing what can be shared about the organization's ceremonies.There's so much information on the Internet about those rituals, many Masons say, that there's little point in being mysterious about them. Forging In-Person Connections In An Online WorldFor Done, the appeal of Freemasonry is pretty basic. "A lot of my best friends are here, and all of their friends typically come around, too, and it just becomes a really interesting social network that's not online," he says.A generation ago, Freemasonry began to decline, and many of the fraternity's buildings around the country were being turned into movie theaters. Membership in the U.S. fell from almost 4.1 million in 1960 to about 1.3 million in 2012. While membership is still falling, those declines have been less steep in recent years."Twenty years ago, I would not have been optimistic," says William Moore, a scholar of American Freemasonry who teaches American studies at Boston University. "I would have said, 'Yes, they were relics of a time that's left behind.' "But historically, he says, the fraternity does well during times of economic instability for men. The U.S. is in that kind of time right now.And some millennials, Moore says, are looking for the kind of long-lasting commitment available in a lodge."They know that those men will be their brothers no matter what their economic structure is," Moore says. "So they know that they can change jobs five, six, seven times in their careers, but they won't be changing the lodge they belong to; they won't be changing the men who are their fraternal brothers."On a warm Saturday, 150 brothers are on their lunch break in a private Masonic park about an hour outside of Seattle. They're in the woods, but they're also wearing suits, because they're here for the outdoor version of the Masonic initiation ceremony.There are brothers here from Prince Hall lodges, which are historically African-American, as well as brothers from Canada. In fact, the grand master of British Columbia, Philip Durell, is here — his proper title is grand master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient and Accepted Freemasons of British Columbia and Yukon.Still 'Just Guys'If you ask Durell about the fraternity's rule excluding women, he admits that it's "tough to defend." But, he says, the rule means a lot to the brothers. "Men behave differently when women are there. And they don't open up the same way as they will when it's just guys there."A few lodges in the U.S. do initiate women, but they're not recognized by the more traditional Masons. The organization instead points to special sister organizations for women, like the Order of the Eastern Star, and the fact that wives are often part of a lodge's social life — they just can't take part in the ceremonies.So back at the Masonic Family Park, the women do crafts while the men hold their ceremony. Vicky Roberts, the wife, or "lady," of Washington state's grand master, says she doesn't resent being excluded."Men are generally not as social as ladies are," she says. "They get stressed out — they don't really make the time that the ladies do to connect with other men."The men need that time, Roberts says. And besides, she adds, the women are probably having a better time in their part of the campground, eating and chatting, while the men spend the day in the woods, sweating in their suits.

Lodge Reunited With Jewels Stolen 150 Years Ago

From WVUE Channel 8 in New Orleans, by Dave McNamara:
Symbols are an important part of the fraternity of Masons. They adorn Masonic lodges, and members wear the emblems or jewels. The Masonic lodge in Greensburg dates back to the early 1850s. During the Civil War, Union troops took over the Greensburg lodge, and when the troops left Louisiana, something very valuable left with them.
"We knew that the lodge had been used as a barracks and that it was pretty well looted, you know, at the time of the Civil War," said Lodge Master Chuck Coburn. "That was in our history."
The stolen items included pure silver artifacts. All have deep meaning to the Masonic brothers.
"I like to make a comparison to them like a family heirloom," Coburn said.
For 150 years, the jewels were missing and presumed to be lost forever. But early this year, they resurfaced at a Masonic lodge in California.
"I was presented with these jewels that were given to us by a retiring or elderly brother who had them for apparently many years that were passed down to him and given to his father because he was a Mason," said Jeff Hertig lodge master at the Consuelo Lodge.
"We happened to have gotten along with the jewels a small 100-year-old note written by someone giving us some names to get the investigation started," said George Tegart, also with Consuelo .
"The note said they came from Charles Harvey, a soldier from Kane County, Illinois.
Harvey was later transferred into Company K of the Illinois 15th Calvary Regiment and ended up in this area around the end, around the early parts of 1864. A reading of Louisiana Masonic archives showed that the Greensburg lodge was missing its jewels.
"That was really a big eureka moment, all my gosh, we know who lost them," Tegart said.
California's Consuelo Lodge traveled to Greensburg, and in a special Masonic ceremony, hand over a long lost jewels.
But the jewels aren't the only things this group has lost over the years. The lodge in Greensburg burned down in 1950. Every single artifact in the building was lost. And that makes these historic jewels even more important.

Man Sentenced For Trying To Burn Down Toledo, Ohio Masonic Center

From today's Toledo (Ohio) Blaze:
A local man was sentenced Tuesday to four months at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio for trying to set fire to the Toledo Masonic Complex, which will be followed by six months at the Correctional Treatment Facility in Toledo.Nathan Wietrzykowski, 25, of 817 Ketcham Ave., also was placed on community control for five years by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald. He had pleaded no contest Aug. 12 to attempted arson for throwing a brick and a Molotov cocktail through a window at the Secor Road complex on May 21.Patricia Wardrop, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said that Masonic Complex representatives were shaken by the incident and a similar one on June 2.Wietrzykowski invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent when the judge asked him why he had targeted the complex. The judge ordered that he have no contact with the victim as a condition of his community control.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Century City, California's Square and Compasses

Century City, California joins Washington DC,  Baghdad, Iraq, Sandusky, Ohio, Rome, Brussels and Paris in having a square and compasses in the street map - this time with an all seeing eye.

Amazing the things you can spot from space.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium August 15-17, 2014

I will be the subject of a question and answer period luncheon at the fifth annual Masonic Restoration Foundation annual symposium in Cincinnati on this Saturday, August 16th at 11:30AM. The Symposium will be held at the Cincinnati Masonic Center at 315 East 5th Street between August 15-17th. The Symposium will feature speakers and workshops focussed on enabling Masons and Lodges to improve their Masonic experiences.

The 2014 MRF Symposium will by co-hosted by four lodges, which represent the spectrum of new Lodges that have been formed over the last decade.  Lodge Vitruvian No. 767 (IN) and Caliburn Lodge No. 785 (OH) are European Concept Lodges.  Lodge Ad Lucem No. 812 (PA) is a Traditional Observance Lodge, and Arts & Sciences Lodge No. 792 (OH) is very much a blend of both styles of lodges with a emphasis on educational discussions in Lodge.  Each Lodge will host a signature event during the Symposium to showcase one of their core practices.

This will be a brothers only event. There is no ladies program.

Besides myself, guest speakers at the Symposium include Brothers Oscar Alleyne, Michael Clevenger, Robert Davis, Robert Herd, Shawn Eyer, Paul Smith, and Andrew Hammer. There will be a Festive Board hosted by Lodge Vitruvian No. 767, a Lodge of EAs hosted by Arts and Sciences Lodge No. 792, a Pennsylvania Master Mason degree hosted by Lodge Ad Lucem No. 2, a Scotch Harmony hosted by Caliburn Lodge No. 785, and a Sunday morning panel discussion, as well as speeches and workshops throughout the weekend. There will also be a marketplace.

The Symposium is open to all Master Masons in good standing of Lodges under Grand Lodges recognized by the North American Conference of Grand Masters.  Attendees must register and the cost of registration is $100.

The headquarters hotel will be the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport Hotel, located at 1717 Airport Exchange Blvd, Erlanger, Kentucky, and the Symposium's Friday and Saturday sessions will be held at the Cincinnati Masonic Center.  Sunday's morning session will be held in the Hamilton room of the hotel.

All Symposium attendees will enjoy the Festive Board banquet on Friday.  Lunch will be provided on Saturday as will appetizers during the Scotch Harmony.  Saturday evening will be an opportunity for attendees to sample the many area restaurants on their own. 

For more information, see the Symposium website by clicking here.

I hope you can join us.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rubicon Masonic Dinner Club, Lexington, KY 8/14

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the Rubicon Masonic Dinner Club will hold its 2nd annual Festive Board in Lexington, Kentucky, featuring Worshipful Brother Andrew Hammer as the guest speaker. It will be held at Spindletop Hall, 3414 Iron Works Pike in Lexington. The reception begins at 6:30PM, and dinner will begi at 7:45PM. Black tie optional, coat and tie required.

Reserve your seat by sending your name, lodge affiliation, telephone, e-mail, address and check for $100 to: RMDC, PO Box 21836, Lexington, KY 40522-18236. For more information see The Craftsman website at

Worshipful Brother Hammer is the Past Master of Alexandria-Wahington Lodge No. 22 in Alexandria, Virginia, and the author of Observing the Craft.

This event takes place on the Thursday prior to the Masonic Restoration Foundation Symposium inCincinnati, and attendees are invited to join Rubicon for dinner. Lexington is about 90 miles south of Cincinnati, and Sprindletop hall is located about a mile east of I-75 South at the Kentucky Horse Park exit.

My Apologies to My Kentucky Brethren

I was scheduled to speak at the William O. Ware Lodge of Research in Covington, KY last night. On the drive over I lost the serpentine belt on the Dummies wagon, and it took nearly three hours to get a tow to the nearest dealer. Fortunately I was only about 25 minutes out of Covington. Master Rob Smith came to my rescue and met me at the dealership. He got me to the lodge by 9:00PM and I got to give my speech to the 30 or so brethren who stayed to wait. My heartfelt thanks to Worshipful Brother Rob and to the brethren who stayed, and their warm hospitality. My deepest apologies to those who couldn't remain. Believe me, I was just as upset as you, if not more so. There's nothing more frustrating than car trouble and the helplessness one feels while at the mercy of emergency road service in an unfamiliar part of the country.

I'm waiting now at the dealership in West Harrison, Indiana. As an added bonus, the hood wouldn't open, so they had to remove the grille to get it open. Oh, and they found a tire that needs to be replaced. This is going to be an expensive trip. Arrgh.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Freemasonry in France

Getting ready to head for Cincinnati, but I just came across this article in Bloomberg about French Freemasonry:

Magazines and newspapers all have stories they run in one form or another, year in, year out. The details may differ, but the stories are largely the same everywhere, striking universal chords of sex, health, and money. A few of these perennials, however, don’t travel. They drill deep into one country’s psyche while everyone else scratches their head and says, “Huh?”
In France, the story that keeps coming back is about Freemasons. It’s everywhere. Most big French magazines run at least one big Freemason cover a year. Books dissect the “state within a state,” to borrow from a recent title. Blogs abound.
“France has several of these marronniers—chestnuts,” says Alain Bauer, former grand master of France’s Grand Orient lodge and president Nicolas Sarkozy’s Masonic liaison. “There’s real estate prices and there’s how to cure headaches, and then there’s Freemasons. The ultimate French magazine story is a Freemason with a headache who’s moving. We don’t like these stories, but at the same time, we love them, because they make us feel like we’re still important.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

William O. Ware Lodge of Research, Covington, KY July 30th

I'll be speaking at the William O. Ware Lodge of Research No. 999 in Covington, Kentucky (just outside of Cincinnati) on July 30th at 7:30. Looking forward to it!

Meanwhile, Alice and I will be in San Antonio, TX this week for the Romance Writers of America convention.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kansas City, MO Scottish Rite Temple Radio Interview

Catch the radio interview on KCUR in Kansas City, MO about the history of the Kansas City Scottish Rite Temple. Featured are Will Moore, author of Masonic Temples, and Bob Harmon, personal representative of the SGIG Valley of Kansas City.

Click here.

Former Treasurer Accused of Stealing $37,000 From Wisconsin Lodge

An Omro man accused of taking funds from the Omro Masons and using them to renovate his residence is now facing criminal charges.
From the website in Wisconsin:
John R. Hoeft, 64, is charged in Winnebago County Circuit Court with theft from a business setting of more than $10,000. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and $25,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Hoeft was the treasurer for the Masonic Lodge in Omro when the organization's charter was stripped it was taken over by the Royal Arch Masons State Chapter due to low enrollment. In the process, the Omro chapter's financial records were examined and it was discovered nearly $40,000 was missing.
Further examination revealed that between August 2011 and October 2012, nine checks were written to either Hoeft or JRH Promotions, Hoeft's business. The checks totaled $36,893. The checks were all signed by Hoeft and three were also signed by Raymond Hoeft, who was also a member of the organization.
When police spoke with a trustee of the Omro Masons, he said membership was so low, only the Hoefts and himself were present at meetings and no financial decisions were made. He said the checks were never approved.
Hoeft told police he became aware in June 2012 that the Omro Masons would be losing their charter due to low enrollment He said over the course of one-and-a-half years, he deposited money into his account or the JRH Promotions account from the Omro Mason's account to pay for renovations on his house, mostly for windows and doors.
Hoeft acknowledged he did not have the Mason's permission to use the money for renovations. He also told police that although his father, Raymond Hoeft, pre-signed the checks, he did not know what they were used for. Raymond Hoeft died in December 2012.
Hoeft will make his first court appearance on July 28.